What hurts the most is that I didn’t know Alex. I never got the pleasure of knowing the good in his life. I didn’t know the hurt he carried either. I didn’t know anything about him, really. The only memories I have of him are those of that fateful day.

When it comes to death, the only thing that makes it easier is that it’s part of life. It’s inevitable. We know it’s coming. We expect it. But when it comes too soon, its hard to feel the comfort of what’s known.

Death comes with memories and beauty and love and pain and hurt. But I only know the bad memories. The pain and hurt.

I’ve lost a lot of people in my life. Each of them have touched me in a beautiful way. I have memories that I carry with me and can hold tightly when I’m hurting. For Alex, the only memories I carry with me are the dark ones. The painful ones.

I hold the memory of the phone call. Kristin’s voice. The piercing white of his eyes. The way that I was stunned by how perfect and precise the bullet hole in his chest was. The feeling of “I could’ve done more”. I don’t have a single positive memory of Alex.

This is what hurts the most.

Communicator. Educator. Empath. Survivor. Writer.